Do you know what's lurking inside of your kitchen sponge? A smelly, wet sponge is a sure sign of one thing: bacteria. Reusing a sponge that's contaminated is dirty business. You can easily spread bacteria to other kitchen surfaces and utensils, increasing your chances of foodborne illness.
Keep your kitchen clean by swapping out kitchen sponges regularly and following these rules:
- Replace worn sponges rather than reusing.
- To clean a sponge, wash it in the hot cycle of your washing machine. Or, wet the sponge well and microwave it on high for about 2 minutes. Microwaving a dry sponge could start a fire.
- Pay close attention to what the sponge was used to wipe up. If it was a drip from raw meat, it's necessary to clean the sponge and sanitize it in a diluted bleach solution (1 tablespoon of bleach added to 1 gallon of water) before using a second time.
Since bacteria also can live in dishcloths and kitchen towels, wash these items often on the hot cycle of your washing machine, too.